Digging Out from Snow without Pain.

ShovelSnowAs winter settles in we are all anticipating lots of snow, which means hot cocoa, snowball fights and of course snow shoveling. When done the correct way, snow shoveling can be a great workout while enjoying the outdoors. However, improper snow shoveling can lead to stiffness, strain or worse.

Here are some tips to avoid injury when clearing snow:

Ergonomic Shovel

Purchase an ergonomic shovel. This is a shovel with a curved handle or one that has an adjustable handle length and can reduce excessive tension on your back. A lightweight plastic blade is a good option as well because it will limit the amount of weight you are lifting.

Bend at the Hips

When lifting, bend at the hips and lift with your leg muscles, not your back. Be wary of not only how much you’re lifting but also the total volume of snow; try to avoid loads that are too heavy.

Replace the Shovel

If possible use a snow blower instead of a shovel. They can take much of the snow-removal pressure off your back. Be sure to use your legs to move the blower forward, keeping your back upright and knees slightly bent.

Plow Instead of Scoop

If you have to use a shovel try and use it like a plow. Brace the handle against your stomach as you push the snow (like a plow) out of the path. This is good substitute to scooping and tossing snow.

Start Early

Instead of shoveling the snow all at once, try shoveling periodically throughout the snowfall to make the process easier and reduce the overall stress on your body.

Stay Warm

Dress warmly. It is very important to dress for the weather, which includes a few loose layers, gloves, boots, scarf and a hat. Keeping warm will also reduce the likelihood of developing a muscle strain.

Staying safe is the best way to enjoy the winter months. By using these tips you can have a fun, safe and pain-free winter.